Favorite Film Stocks for Black & White Photos
Before you send your film off for developing and scanning, you have a very important question to ask yourself as a photographer that will influence the look of your final photos: which film stock is best for what I'm shooting?
We asked five film photographers to share their favorite film to use in low light. Here's what they had to say...
"Classic black & white Kodak film is timeless. I choose ISO 400. Whether it's medium-format or 35mm, it never lets me down and always inspires me to shoot more of it." – Meg Smith
"I love Kodak Tri-X 400. The strong black and whites in this stock are perfection when metered correctly, and in a pinch (aka dark caverns of hell, aka seattle in the winter) I can meter it at 3200 and have it pushed all the way to 6400 for crisp coverage. I value consistency and versatility, which makes this my favorite film of all time. " – Catherine Abegg
"I truly love black & white film! I shoot a variety of black & white film stocks, but my two primary films are Kodak Tri-X 400 & Ilford Delta 3200. Tri-X is so classic & super versatile. I can overexpose it or push it a couple stops depending on what look I’m going for. Delta 3200 gives me a really nice soft look with a beautiful grain for indoor window light during wedding day prep time or that fleeting last light portrait." – Chris Isham
"Give me all the grain! Delta 3200 is my absolute favorite B&W film stock. This is my go-to when I am shooting lifestyle newborn sessions and I want the image to focus on the connection and subject rather than the environment." – Lauren Muckler
"I usually use black & white film when light is scarce and push the film a couple of stops. Emphasizing grain works well with black and white photos. I also like the timeless appeal of black and white photos. I normally use Ilford HP5 Plus. I love the tonal graduation of this film, and it's also very good with shadow details " – KC Chan
And there you have it! Shooting black & white film presents a lot of great choices. Test them for yourself (and make sure to use your light meter).
Whether you love Ilford 120 film, Kodak in 35mm, or black & white disposable cameras, Richard can take care of your film developing and film scanning...